Hedi Slimane’s line of fragrances for Celine, which debuted in 2019, draws from a journal of the designer’s personal olfactory memories such as a bergamot and coriander seed-scented sail down the Seine as a 20-year-old or the palo santo that reminds him of the nine years he spent living in Los Angeles. The brand’s newest perfume is designed to bring Slimane back to one of his most treasured childhood rituals: bath time. Cologne Céleste, which also comes in the form of a perfumed oil, bath milk and soap, takes inspiration from warm soaks and the delicate perfume they leave behind on skin and clothes. The scent opens with citrusy notes of neroli (an extract from the bitter orange tree), lemon and petitgrain and is rounded out by powdery orris and ambrette butters. For those who want to extend the line’s use from bathtub to closet, the Triomphe-embossed soap can double as a pretty fabric freshener when left in a drawer. From $520, celine.com.
Lipstick has been used, in various forms, for millenniums, but the struggle to make its colour last has, seemingly, existed for just as long. Solutions have included the pots of red ocher that were often buried alongside mummies in ancient Egypt, to ensure a russet-lined smile well into the next life, and the potent mercury-laced vermilion mixture that was applied to rosebud effect in the Elizabethan era. Why go to all this trouble? Perfectly tinted lips “make you look finished and polished like nothing else can,” says Jenn Streicher, a makeup artist and founder of the New York beauty boutiques Scout and Duchess. Here, a guide to applying lipstick like a professional.
Prep Your Lips
Begin by sloughing off any dead, flaky skin. “I have clients run a really hot washcloth over their lips,” explains Daniel Martin, a makeup artist and the global director of artistry and education at the beauty brand Tatcha. “The water hydrates, and you are physically removing the dryness.” Next, Martin applies a slick of Tatcha’s moisturising Kissu Lip Mask ($29) that he allows to sink in while completing the rest of his client’s skin care routine. (When she’s on the go, Streicher reaches for Ada Lip Beauty’s Lip Rally [$18], a stick-shaped scrub made with exfoliating sugar beads and hydrating plant butters.) An important, often-overlooked next step is to wipe away excess oils before adding colour. As the Chanel makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown explains, if an emollient product hasn’t been fully absorbed, “the wax of a pencil will not grab onto the lip; it will just float in the moisture.” To avoid the problem altogether, she preps with Chanel’s Le Lift Soin Lèvres et Contours ($95), a light cream with a matte finish.
Use a Liner
Liner can help prevent colour from fading or feathering outside of the natural border of the lips, but it’s often applied incorrectly. Brown’s technique, which ensures the pigment wears away evenly, is to fill in the entire mouth, rather than just lining it. She suggests applying liner while smiling, so your lips are taut. Begin by tracing the very edge of your lips with the pencil then colour in the outline you’ve created. Martin, on the other hand, prefers to apply liner after lipstick, to touch up the edges. “This really helps to seal the deal, exaggerating or finishing off the shape more perfectly without leaving that pesky ring behind,” he explains. If you’re skittish about lining, you might consider instead using a clear wax pencil, such as Chanel’s Le Crayon Lèvres ($35), to stop color from bleeding into fine lines around the mouth. Alternatively, a pencil that’s close to your natural shade can produce a soft, subtle effect. Try one from The Lip Bar’s range of Straight Line Creamy Lip Liners ($10).
Apply Lipstick — Then Apply Again
“You want a colour that will stain,” explains the makeup artist Gucci Westman, who is partial to the tomato and fuchsia hues in her namesake brand’s Lip Suede: Les Rouges palette ($85). She suggests “a matte texture and a shade that is dark, deep or bright and super pigmented.” Matte products contain fewer oils, which makes them less prone to smudging. But they can also be drying and feel heavier than a gloss or salve. For the sake of easy application, The Lip Bar’s Nonstop Liquid Matte ($14) — which comes in 21 bold tones, ranging from brick red to orchid purple — goes on like a gloss at first, as does Violette’s Petal Bouche Matte ($28), whose final texture Streicher compares to that of “a rose petal.” But to the makeup rookies she encounters at her stores, she recommends Madame Gabriela’s manuka honey and plant-oil-infused collection of lipsticks, ($35), which have a satiny balm-like feel.
Once you’ve chosen your product, apply a thin layer, either straight from the stick or with a lip brush. Blot using a tissue and apply again, repeating the process until you’ve achieved an opaque colour that has melted into the lips. This technique not only helps to create a powerful stain, it also imparts a more lived-in effect. “I blot so that it doesn’t really look like I’m wearing anything on my lips. You can do it with any colour or tone and it will still look quite natural and not so lipstick-y,” says Westman. For a crisper finish, translucent powder can be lightly dusted on top of your liner and in between the layers of lipstick. And if, later in the day, you have a new problem — your lip colour now won’t come off — Westman says that applying some oily Egyptian Magic balm (from $6) and removing it with a hot washcloth is a fail-safe solution.
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If your beauty regimen doesn’t yet include virtual consultations and try-ons for skincare and makeup, online tutorials and the creation of new looks in cyberspace, it’s time you explored the future face of beauty. As digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) consume everything, everywhere, beauty brands are accelerating new initiatives to lure and retain customers, as well as connect with uber-tech-savvy gen Z and millennials, and busy boomers who demand the luxury of convenience.
A 2022 study by Accenture found that the increased use of technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is powering investment in new capabilities and experiences that blend the physical and the virtual. “For consumer-facing companies, it’s not about deciding if they’re going to go into the metaverse, it’s deciding how,” commented Jill Standish, the senior managing director and global head of Accenture’s Retail industry group.
Think of the metaverse as an immersive virtual world that mirrors the physical one via interconnected networks so that users can have experiences, interact and transact; in this space, the cosmetics industry can supercharge both consumer engagement and buying opportunities. One of the most prominent examples of how beauty brands are catering to this new reality is their adoption of virtual try-on (VTO)technology, which is so compelling because the looks it creates are both immediate and personalised. With Estée Lauder’s Virtual Try-On, for example, you no longer need to guess your perfect foundation or lipstick shade, as the technology does it for you. The brand’s iMatch Virtual Skin Analysis tool, meanwhile, instantaneously tailors skincare recommendations. Chanel’s free Lipscanner app lets users search their surroundings for a colour they like, snap a picture of it with their smartphone cameras, then have it matched to a shade of Chanel lipstick, which they can virtually try on and order through the app. By the end of 2021, the app featured some 400 products.
Cult beauty label M.A.C began its AI/AR journey a few years ago by partnering with Perfect Corp’s YouCam app to provide customers with a virtual try-on experience for several of its eye and lip products in which texture, shine and even glitter can be easily seen. The customer response was so enthusiastic — the brand reported a 200 per cent increase in engagement — that M.A.C now offers more than 1,700 of its products on the app, catering to every skin tone and face shape. The brand has since enhanced the experience with VTO “full looks” including Date Night and Holiday Glam. The makeup brand Nars has also implemented virtual try-on across a wide range of product categories, driving engagement and sales.
In 2018, L’Oréal Groupe revealed it had acquired ModiFace, a Toronto-based tech company specialising in augmented reality apps whose clients have included Shiseido, Estée Lauder and Sephora. L’Oréal Paris Virtual Try On takes the guesswork out of hair colour — no more follicular disasters — and a range of makeup looks, either live or after you upload a selfie. The beauty behemoth has also launched the Maybelline Beauty App virtual makeover. Signalling that this new reality is anything but superficial, L’Oréal is also taking a significant step into the world of business. In July, the group announced that executives will soon be able to choose from 12 virtual makeup looks for Microsoft Teams meetings — perfect for the appearance-conscious who don’t have time to execute a full maquillage IRL.
Technologies like this reduce uncertainty about how a product will look on the consumer, increasing customer confidence and boosting sales, says L’Oréal Groupe’s chief digital marketing officer, Georgia Hack. “We know there’s an intersection between science and technology, which includes augmented products and increasingly connected and personalised services,” she says. For L’Oréal Groupe, the future of beauty lies in “creating unique, multisensory beauty experiences”.
Me, myself, I
Thanks to the evolution of the metaverse, there is also a highly lucrative market for selling luxury fashion and beauty products that don’t exist except in cyberspace. Premium fashion brands including Gucci, Nike, Balenciaga and Tommy Hilfiger are already heavily invested in this fast-emerging virtual space. Following the development of its own game, “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”, to showcase its autumn 2021 collection, Balenciaga partnered with Epic Games to produce a fashion collection for avatars in the Epic video game “Fortnite”. The looks extend to Triple S trainers, caps, backpacks, jackets and hoodies that sell for thousands of V-Bucks, the currency of the game, purchasable with real money (although some pieces are free). With more than three billion gamers worldwide and consumers already spending $155 billion a year globally on virtual goods, lucrative brand-building opportunities are almost unlimited.
In early 2022, Decentraland, a virtual world with environments built and owned by its users and secured using blockchain technology, staged a Metaverse Fashion Week. Guests were served virtual drinks during catwalk shows by brands ranging from Dolce & Gabbana to Roberto Cavalli, with Estée Lauder the exclusive beauty brand. With the help of Alex Box, a makeup artist who is prominent in the metaverse, Lauder created an original, non-fungible token (NFT) wearable inspired by its bestselling Advanced Night Repair serum. Box said she translated the product into an immersive “‘Radiance Aura’, a twinkling constellation of glow and magic”.
The beauty brand also created its first Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) badges for the event. Stéphane de La Faverie, global brand president, Estée Lauder & Aerin Beauty and group president, The Estée Lauder Companies, says the metaverse outing marked a “pivotal point” for the company and was a “groundbreaking way” to present products to a new generation of clients.
Late last year, L’Oréal announced its partnership with the cross-game avatar platform Ready Player Me. The plan? To deliver Maybelline New York and L’Oréal Professionel makeup looks and hairstyles to avatars across more than 4,000 apps and platforms, including VRChat and Spatial.
It’s hoped the free technology will help to build brand loyalty. More recently, Maybelline New York launched its first digital avatar, May, in a campaign for its Falsies Surreal Extensions Mascara. The rollout spanned the virtual and real worlds, with model Gigi Hadid enlisted as the (human) global ambassador.
… And you, of course
As consumers worldwide become more orientated towards inclusivity, beauty brands are capitalising on this opportunity to expand market share via the metaverse. For its Metaverse Like Us campaign, launched last year, Clinique asked three artists to create makeup looks for the avatar community Non-Fungible People, which represents women, nonbinary people and those facing challenges such as mobility issues or skin conditions. Customers can shop the products that inspired the looks, while Clinique gains access to a diverse beauty community.
The brand established a presence in the metaverse in 2021 with the launch of a digital collectible through an NFT. Its virtual storefront, The Clinique Lab, launched here in May, is a digital space where customers can create custom avatars and browse products, talk to a consultant and learn about products.
Last year, Nars announced it would enlist three virtual brand ambassadors for its Powermatte Lipstick launch to challenge unrealistic beauty standards in underrepresented communities and, of course, forge new markets. The trio of “meta-humans” interact with customers across the brand’s website and on the social media platforms Instagram, TikTok and Douyin. Avatar Maxine is a tribute to the toffee-apple-red shade Dragon Girl; digital ambassador Chelsea is inspired by dusty rose American Woman; and Sissi is a visual representation of maple red Too Hot To Hold.
Hack says L’Oréal also believes it can effect positive change in the metaverse at both a collective and individual level: “It will allow us to tackle inclusion challenges, and we are putting our resources behind emerging technologies that mean everyone can have access to smarter beauty.”
Meanwhile, brands are using events combining virtual and physical reality to engage different generations with diverse profiles and budgets. At the Sephoria: House of Beauty event, held in New York at the end of September, in-person attendees tried out exclusive products, had hands-on experiences and learned from surprise guests. Virtual attendees logged on to an immersive 3D gaming-like platform where they could create their own avatar, chat live with a beauty advisor and play games to earn points for a loyalty program.
Towards the future
While Web2, the current version of the internet, allows users to interact and collaborate with one another through social media, user-generated content and virtual communities on sites including TikTok, the shadow of Web3 — a blockchain-based version of the internet that includes cryptocurrencies, NFTs, decentralised finance and more — continues to expand.
It’s not certain how Web3 will reshape the cosmetics industry, but there’s no doubt more novel applications are on the way. NYX Professional Makeup, for example, recently announced the world’s first beauty decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), GORJS, which will bring together a 3D artist community and provide a launchpad for 3D creators, who are at the heart of the metaverse. Also supporting creativity in Web3, L’Oréal Groupe, Meta and the French business school HEC Paris have teamed up to create what they claim is the first metaverse start-up accelerator. Based at the Station F campus in the French capital, the collaboration aims to empower this ecosystem for augmented reality, virtual reality, avatar creation, 3D production, token economies and Web3 user experience, and to build by design a creative, more inclusive and diverse metaverse.
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There is something distinctly queer about shaved eyebrows: their presence, or rather absence, challenges our expectations about what a face should be. And indeed, for much of the past century, they were a signal of deviance from the norm — either because a person couldn’t fit in or because they refused to. Take the drag queen Divine, who in the filmmaker John Waters’s 1972 trash epic, “Pink Flamingos,” struts down a Baltimore sidewalk wearing a slinky wrap dress, peep-toe heels and a pair of impossibly arched brows. She is undeniably glamorous, yet her brows — painted by the makeup artist and costume designer Van Smith, who first removed Divine’s natural ones along with part of her hairline — stamp her face with a permanent glare, as if underlining her character’s self-declared status as “the filthiest person alive.”
But if shaved eyebrows once announced your belonging to a transgressive subculture (goths and punks, like drag queens, have long adopted them), today the taboo is fading. The British actress Jodie Turner-Smith said goodbye to her eyebrows in 2022, likely for a role; the model Amelia Hamlin garnered headlines last fall when she shaved hers off for a magazine shoot; and the actress Mia Goth’s barely there natural brows have inspired imitators to shave theirs. Then there’s the musician Doja Cat, who razored off hers during an Instagram livestream last year. Her red-carpet style, which previously hewed to a conventionally feminine aesthetic, has grown more outré and gender agnostic in the year since: In January, she appeared at the Schiaparelli runway show in Paris painted scarlet and bejeweled with Swarovski crystals; at the Viktor & Rolf show, she wore brows and a goatee made from cut up false eyelashes — a delightful drag king flourish. Removing your eyebrows might be a relatively small act of bodily autonomy but, the rapper’s trajectory seems to suggest, it can clear space for your most experimental impulses to surface.
And those impulses seem to be spreading. Currently, videos on TikTok relating to shaved eyebrows have nearly 100 million views in total, and their creators range from manicured beauty influencers to seemingly bored teens in hoodies. In place of their natural hair, they might sketch in vicious slants; broad, rounded ’90s-inspired arches; or even tiny floating circles, if they draw anything on at all. Notably, the trend coincides with the rise of freelance labor and remote work; traditional understandings of what is and is not office appropriate are, perhaps, going the way of the office itself. The makeup artist and performer Laila McQueen also speculates that the mainstreaming of drag culture, via popular shows such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Dragula,” has significantly shaped today’s beauty industry. “Makeup trends are just so much more ostentatious than they used to be,” they say. Many content creators will challenge themselves to recreate a specific queen’s look, such as Trixie Mattel’s signature Barbie-meets-Rorschach-test makeup, and shaving off one’s brows is a way to expand the surface area you have to play with. “When you change your brows, you change the shape of your face,” says McQueen. “And if you can do that, you can really change anything.”
This desire to heighten our facial expressions by altering our brows is not new. Ancient Egyptians of all genders would remove their natural brows and paint in more dramatic, sweeping arches, says Rachael Gibson, 39, the London-based writer behind the Instagram account @thehairhistorian. A similar practice, known as Hikimayu, was popular among men and women during Japan’s Heian period, between the eighth and 12th centuries. Practitioners would replace their eyebrows with stylized black shapes, ranging from fine arcs to cloudy smudges, positioning them higher up on the forehead, Gibson explains. And in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I was known for plucking her eyebrows nearly out of existence, along with the front of her hairline. “The ideal beauty standard of the era was essentially a bald white egg topped with red hair,” says Gibson, “and just a very fine, barely visible eyebrow.”
In contrast, today’s most popular brow look — exemplified by that of Bella Hadid, whose brows slope inward at about 45 degrees — is angular and severe. To achieve the effect, some people turn to cosmetic or surgical intervention, such as a fox eye canthoplasty, which removes sagging skin while tilting the eye into a more almondlike shape, or a standard brow lift. But “shaving your brows is definitely a cheaper and overall safer method,” says Gary Linkov, 37, a New York-based plastic surgeon. To mimic the lift of an injection or an incision, some people — especially adherents of the clean girl aesthetic, a minimal makeup look that has gained popularity on TikTok — have begun razoring off their brows’ outer tails and then redrawing them at a higher angle, making their face appear as if it’s been pulled taut. “Don’t get Botox, just shave [your] brows,” the 27-year-old makeup and cosplay artist Eleanor Barnes (known by her handle, @snitchery), captioned a recent video.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that shaved eyebrows have proliferated on social media, where a person’s face is often their currency. Amid an endless scroll of people, many of them filtered to inhuman perfection, a subversive beauty look can court attention, subscribers, sponsors — and ironically, enough imitators that a once rebellious act soon becomes commonplace. But there can still be something radical about the look. Divine wasn’t simply trying to attract an audience in that “Pink Flamingos” scene. She was also bringing her own personal fantasy to life, disrupting the calm of a suburban thoroughfare in order to be the filthiest, freest version of herself. If eyebrows anchor your face, then removing them can set you adrift — and how liberating it is to decide exactly where you’d like to go next.
Amidst the bourgeoning plant life and general aura of possibility that springtime elicits, the season also ushers in a period of skin-related mishaps and flare-ups as a result of the changing environment. Dehydration, impaired skin barriers and an increase in skin sensitivity and conditions such as eczema are common during this time, as our bodies adjust to rising temperatures.
Clare McColl, the co-founder of Paddington’s Fenn Store, warns that slathering on your winter-targeted products could exacerbate your problem areas. “Continuing with your same winter skincare could lead to blocked pores and an excess of oil production,” she says. “Talking with your skin care specialist to sub in or out products that will support skin through the transition is a must.”
Another common mistake? Over-exfoliation. “We also see a lot of people trying to over-exfoliate during this time as well, which can cause undue stress to the skin barrier and in turn increase sensitivity and potential flare ups.” McColl recommends adopting a “less-is-more” approach here, opting for gently exfoliating products such as Medik8’s Press & Glow, or Sans Ceuticals Superdose Luminosity Mask once a week.
For those seeking a spring skin reset, try switching from rich, lipid heavy creams to lightweight water-based or gel options for hydration. “Hyaluronic acid is a staple during this time, to ensure a smooth transition from cooler to warmer weather, and can be layered underneath other serums both in the morning and evening to assist with regulation of sebum production, and reduce transepidermal water loss,” says McColl. “A firm Fenn favourite is the Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense and Rationale’s #1 The Hydragel.”
Good quality antioxidants in the morning, to shield your skin from pollutants, sun and environmental exposure, is another must for the season (alongside daily SPF). McColl advises to look for ingredients such as vitamin C, ferulic acid, niacinamide, resveratrol and co enzyme Q10. “Our go-to’s include Medik8 Daily Radiance Vitamin C Cream, Josh Rosebrook’s C Bright Complex Serum and Raie’s Morning Dew Vitamin C Serum.”
But it’s not all about the topical. The adage “beauty starts from within” is cliche for good reason. Supporting the skin from the inside out is a valuable approach, and McColl recommends seeking out omega fatty acids: “A good quality supplement will give your skin the extra boost it needs throughout times of change, as well as tempering your immune system if you are prone to skin conditions such as eczema.”
Collagen powder, too, can help with this transitional period. “We love Pearl by Par Olive’s Marine Collagen, alongside a well considered, protein rich diet. And, of course, the usual recommendation of drinking enough water – amp up the hydration factor by adding some good quality Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime.”
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Scent is an exercise in the personal. Olfactorily subjective, and subject to alteration upon coalescing with the skin, one person’s signature fragrance rarely mirrors another’s. It’s what makes the recognition of a beloved smell all the more sentimental – and why it’s worth investing when stumbling upon a bottle that speaks to you.
From delicate florals to saffron aromas, here T Australia spritzes the season’s new releases.
Acqua di Parma
Signatures Of The Sun, Zafferano Eau de Parfum
Acqua di Parma’s Zafferano captures the radiance of rare saffron alongside notes of citrus, for a unique and spicy blend. Orange blossom, jasmine sambac, and geranium enhance the heart, while woody and amber notes soften the saffron’s dusky accents. A subtle nod to those who appreciate its rich history, this fragrance embodying Italian craftsmanship and is rooted in Venetian tradition, mirroring the sophistication of terrazzo (a testament to discreet luxury and reserved beauty). $446 for 100ml.davidjones.com
Explorer Platinum Eau de Parfum
Montblanc Explorer Platinum embodies the enduring spirit of exploration, offering adventurers the chance to push their (fragrance) limits further. Rooted in Montblanc’s mountainous heritage, the fragrance pays tribute to the connection between human and mountain, capturing the thrill of ascending to new heights with a modern woody formulation. This bold olfactory journey combines noble woods, fresh Cypress, and a musky woody accord, evoking a refined masculinity. The bottle design takes inspiration from Montblanc’s world of exploration, featuring a textured silver sleeve reminiscent of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere timepiece and a protective travel sleeve. $160 for 100ml. davidjones.com
Carmina Eau de Parfum
Drawing inspiration from Henry Creed’s fashion sketchbooks, Carmina is shaped by an electric sensibility that evokes the essence of a passionate woman. As unabashedly bold and sensual as the garments that inspire it, Carmina embodies the heroine – primed for adventure adventure. Black cherry and pink pepper draw notes of violet and muted rose into contemporary realms. Saffron lends warmth, and is layered with delicate musks and amber, whilst cashmere wood adds the luxury woody notes that make Carmina so captivating.
$469 for 75ml. creedperfume.com.au
Pour Femme Eau de Parfum
Brunello Cucinelli Pour Femme, a fragrance born from the collaboration between Brunello Cucinelli and perfumer Daphné Bugey, is a tribute to precious simplicity and the stories that inspired it. The heart of the composition features a unique chestnut accord and precious woods. Top notes of spices and citrus fruits offer a fresh, luminous touch, while the base notes of amber and musk provide warmth and comfort. Sustainable ingredients like cedarwood Virginia, cedar Atlas, and vetiver from Haiti, along with olibanum from Somalia, enrich the scent with depth and character. The fragrance also incorporates Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian mandarin, and pink pepper for freshness, and orange blossom for femininity. $295 for 100ml. davidjones.com
French Poetry Eau de Parfum
St. Rose introduces French Poetry, a luxurious fragrance inspired by Rimbaud’s avant-garde prose. Indulging in notes of Italian bergamot and pear, the blend evokes a languid Parisian summer. Developed by renowned perfumer Caroline Sabas, French Poetry is an embodiment of exquisite craftsmanship and a love letter to her homeland via French muguet and jasmine, intertwined with a base of vanilla, sandalwood, and amber. Committed to transparency and traceability, St. Rose uses 97 per cent natural origin ingredients, and consciously sourced elements such as wild sandalwood from Western Australia and upcycled vanilla. Approximately $285 for 50ml. st-rose.com